Monday, September 22, 2008

"Bittersweet" revisited

I just realized that many of the readers here may not have any clue what I was just referring to, with my "Bittersweet" reference. I just realized that the reference actually outdates this current blog. As some of you know, I started "blogging" on my MySpace page a year ago, so that friends and family could keep up to date with Leslie's journey. That site was then mirrored by a friend of ours in a more public forum, entitled "Leslie's Journey"... and the whole thing kind of took on its own personality from there. The amount of encouragement Leslie and I got from the comments and support from those blogs was tremendous-- God used it as a vehicle to prove His presence and His hand in "our story". That being said, I've recently received some inquiries via this site, regarding our entire "story". Well here you go... the whole kit and kaboodle. A very long read, just to warn you, from September of '07 through July of '08. (Both "sites" are still available-- links below, depending on your preference of MySpace vs. Blogspot. As a disclaimer-- the pagination/ spacing of the blogspot mirror site can get a little hard to read, due to "copy/paste translation" issues...)

Anyway, on July 12 of 2008, I posted the following blog. Leslie's health was going down-hill quickly (obviously... her fight was over on the 26th of that same month). And as I re-read it, a mere 2 months after she was taken from me, I'm struck with the same thoughts, in a whole new light, all over again. This has been a "theme" of sorts, in my life, these past 5 months...


And I'm thinking... Love...
It's bittersweet.
More sweet than bitter.
Bitter, then sweet.
It's a bittersweet surrender.

Those are the lyrics to a chorus of a Big Head Todd song I fell in love with in college. I think I just liked the melody and syncopated rhythmic guitar part. There was a certain passion and even an anguish in the singer's voice. Funny how songs that I used to enjoy and sing thoughtlessly along with take on a whole new meaning these days.

(For those of you who are MySpace users, you can hear the song on my main Profile page-- just click on my name above the picture of Leslie and me in the upper left.)

It's been bittersweet. I guess that's the report. I realize it's been over a week since my last update. I've been kind of waiting for something encouraging to happen-- some sort of event I can report-- so I could come at you with a "gee, that sucked, but things are looking up." And all I can really say, when it comes to Leslie's health, is "gee, this sucks..." And that's all. And it's an understatement of a lifetime.

I can't even begin to recount all the "action" around here over the past week-plus. Summarized: Leslie was caught in a "Twilight Zone" of sorts, until about Wednesday of this week. She was (even in her own present recollection of the week) unable to differentiate between what was really going on and what was happening in her dreams/ delirium. The good news-- she was so out of it, she doesn't really remember much at all. But, it was rough, whether she realizes it or not now. She was so weak, it was all she could do was roll off of bed and onto the bed-side commode, and back into bed. Reach for the puke bucket, alert me (via TJ's baby monitor now in her room) that there was some "tending" to do-- usually just by groaning my name-- and then roll back over and plunge back into the sleep-coma. Maybe she'd manage a phrase or two of conversation while she was "awake"... but 90% of it was disoriented... she was basically working me into her dreams. And I didn't have the heart to tell her that I had no idea what she was talking about. It was just the dehydration (even though the nurse comes daily-- sometimes 2x/day to administer fluids), low potassium, poor nourishment, and the chemo-narcotic cocktail raging through her body... all working together to put on quite the show in her mind for the 5-day stint. Tuesday things were calming down a little, and Wednesday I was back to work. She called me that morning at the office, and I could tell by her voice-- even as weak and raspy as it was-- that she was "back".

"Good MORNING, Baby!" I laughed.
"How long have I been sleeping?" She asked weakly.
"About 5 days," I said. "What do you remember?"
"I don't know... Commercials and parts of movies I know I didn't see... and bits and pieces of conversations I'm not sure we really had... What day is it?"

Her mind is back with us, now. But her body is still so weak. She's still unable to get out of bed and to the bathroom by herself. She's trying to eat-- but her digestive track is still not cooperating. The nurse is coming by in a little bit to get her some more fluids. Our goal today is to get her downstairs and in the Lay-Z-Boy for the day, so she can participate-- or at least be a spectator in-- the normal Saturday action... Wiggles, baseball games (on TV and in the living room), books, pretend cooking, real cooking, etc... The objective is just allowing some of her strength to come back. Her weight is now down almost 40 lbs (and those of you who know her know that she didn't even have 5 to give, originally) since "the beginning". Her lungs and muscles and bones just need the stimulation.

We had an emotional but wonderful conversation last night. We just had a lot of catching up to do. Her eyes are now alert and strong again. We're just trying to get her body to catch up a little. We're not sure why this "Week One" was so violently difficult... The doctor's don't even know what to expect, one cycle to the next. We can hope that it's because the chemo drugs are starting to make big progress against the tumors and cancer in her blood, and it's just wearing her out. But we just don't know. Meanwhile, I'm just happy she doesn't remember much of it.

TJ has been so amazing through the course of this. He got to spend last weekend at his cousins' house in Wheaton-- a time full of fireworks, parades, and all kinds of fun and games... and family. He had so much fun, but was very excited to be home. He's kind of "adjusting" to Mommy being "sick". He's very "gentle" when he goes in to see her-- knocking on her door and quietly calling out, "can we come in Mommy?" before entering. He seems joyful, secure, loving, and very aware of everything... like he always is. Praise God for this. He is good and full of grace. He's protected Leslie's heart over the past week. Even her mind. And He's given me TJ-- my own little Ativan pill-- keeping me "calm and happy" when I otherwise should be struggling for my breath and sanity. So... I guess... it's like I said at first... Every day... Every breath of every minute... It's bittersweet.


Britt Gerber said...

Our hearts are trying to heal with yours! We are still here... Britt

Auntie Gayle said...

Hi, Ty, I remember that Bittersweet blog. When I'm feeling really sad about losing Les, I think about how much she was suffering and thank God she now has a new body! When I look at the picture of you three from Tad's wedding--- she was radiant---a picture of health. Just doesn't seem possible---the hellish 10 months she had ahead of her. Anyhow, like Britt said---we are with you & TJ every day. Big hug, Auntie Gayle